Where Do You Want It
Saustex Media, 2013
Review by Kent Manthie
On this second of CDs by a quintet from Lubbock, Texas’s, The Beaumonts, entitled Where Do You Want It we get a follow-up from their debut as The Beaumonts “continue to right the wrongs of the recent musical past…” (from the promo bio sheet).
The Beaumonts are a curiosity, indeed. Before I hit “play” on my CD player I thought for sure that I was going to have a disc that I could rip on, since I’ve had so many CDs that have been from “mediocre-OK” to “WOW” that I haven’t, so far, anyway, received any really shitty music. I guess that comes from a bit of self-selection, receiving music from a few labels that have great rosters of bands which, for the most part, are pleasing. And the other thing is that I’ve gotten a lot of DIY homemade super lo fi stuff that is the epitome of cognitive dissonance, with a lot of “bent circuitry, homemade noise devices and well…just about everything but the kitchen sink. Since I know that it’s such an easy target – too easy to just dismiss and say it’s nothing but noise and (sounding like someone’s old dad) “my five-year old kid could do better…” (you hear that a lot with so-called “modern art”-to me art’s art: ars gratia artis. You know.
But, I digress…when I listened to the first cut on Where Do You Want It, “I Like Drinking”, I was laughing my ass off – “I like to drink/I like dance/I like to get high” – that being the chorus. Then, the second cut, “I Like Women” was equally humorous. Then there’s the laugh-out-loud “(If You Don’t) Love the Lord” which is a scream – “If you don’t love the lord, you’re fuckin’ fucked…” (2x) and then “If you don’t love the lord you’re fuckin’ fucked, just like a whore…” – goddamn that is funny!!!
At first glance The Beaumonts seem like a total Country & Western band and, well, maybe they are, in a twisted, crazy-funny way, but they are unlike any country outfit I’ve heard – especially the corn-syrup crap that you hear when you are stuck somewhere where they’re playing a country radio station or album, etc., like a convenience store/gas station or whatever… you stand in line and this awful, twangy, rhythm-impaired white-bread bumpkin junk with the dumbest lyrics you could ever think of (or worse, depends on your imagination) splatter over the rest of it and if you don’t get out of there soon you start feeling nauseated and want to vomit.
At least the Beaumonts aren’t so syrupy and have some damn funny lyrics to boot. It’s hard to tell if they’re a total parody or if they really are country but want to present their twisted sense of humor and off-the-wall way of looking at life in this format. Of course, the setting is just perfect – and Country Music is essential for the lyrics, the style as well as the mise en scene.
Where Do You Want It is just screamingly funny – funny in a way that the hardcore/punk band FEAR’s debut, The Record was. I just can’t imagine how crazy a live show would be by The Beaumonts. Whatever you do, though, make sure you get familiar with them and check out this album. It will put Country in a whole new light for you (though, all these Country idiot right-wing nuts who sing about how great living in America is and what a great guy George W. Bush is and all this stupid propaganda that Dick Cheney just laughs his head off over when he’s alone at home.
The Beaumonts may not be taken seriously by some – there are some die-hards out there who think that calling a spade a spade is giving country a bad name – WHAT? So, why does humor have to make a good band seem silly or like some sort of novelty act? That was proven to be way off base – if you can remember Frank Zappa, for one thing – Zappa was hilarious! On everything from his & the Mothers first albums: Freak Out, Absolutely Free, We’re Only In It For the Money, Weasels Ripped My Flesh, to his solo stuff, Hot Rats, the mostly instrumental Grand Wazoo, to his revolving door-bands of the mid-late 70s with their classics: Zoot Allures, Sheik Yerbouti, Joe’s Garage among lots of others. Zappa was not only a satirical, laugh-out-loud humorist, but he was a genius musical virtuoso, who was not only a fiery guitarist who left one with dropped jaw and a state of shock after one of his mind-blowing LOUD solos, he was also a multi-instrumentalist, a genuine composer, rather than just a songwriter, writing and arranging the music for all the myriad parts of his extensive ensembles and, of course he was a fiercely perfectionist producer, knowing which little details needed to be changed and which ones worked, etc. Zappa is and will always be a legend, one that cannot ever be duplicated – and since album one, humor has been his main lyrical point, although, between the guffaws and the lewd jokes of “Dinah-Moe Humm”, “Didja Get Any Onya?” as well as “Who Are the Brain Police?”, he had some social commentary to slip in, a la “Trouble Everyday”, on his Mothers debut, Freak Out, a certified classic.
Anyway, the point is, you don’t have to be a right-wing shill, pretending that America is this great “shining city on a hill” or something and some other over the top poetic bullshit – the US is a money-hungry, war-machine that cares little about social justice. Sure, there are lots of individuals that can claim that mantle – both elected officials and hard-working activists, etc, but as far as the governments policies – domestic and foreign – we are a bully to the rest of the world and when we give in to the Republicans, bad things happen – spending cuts are made, the kind that screw the poor, the needy, the hungry and the homeless – but does the GOP ever consider cutting defense spending? The wasteful, ever-skyrocketing budget for defense? HELL NO! That is a sacred cow that no Republican would even dare mention (kind of like “I support Israel 100% no matter how much they abuse the Palestinians and break international law, which is just a joke anyway to Washington-because, as we saw with Chuck Hagel, who had the balls to stand up to the AIPAC parasites, he was vilified and smeared by strategic missiles aimed at derailing his SECDEF confirmation, which, at this revision, he won, by a somewhat slim margin.
But, I digress. I love the Beaumonts for a return to the days of Hank Williams, The Statler Brothers, Buck Owens, Georges Strait & Jones, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn and of course, the man in black himself, the late, great Johnny Cash – who really knew how to craft a song that held your attention and, while full of depraved stories and liquor fueled craziness and cocaine binges, etc., was a regal figure, respected the music world over. We need to dump the corny Garth Brooks types and Toby Keiths and Trace Adkinses and all those goofy “My country, right or wrong” types. The kind of jerks who were anathema to the antiwar movement of the Vietnam era – which means that they liked the idea of continuing a war that was meaningless, killing Americans by the score and didn’t have any positive outcome. Those people were just the John Birch lunatic fringe that no one would miss if they disappeared from the planet.
Anyway, The Beaumonts and their ilk these days are playing to a new generation and have a much more laid back, liquor backed frenzy of fun, fun, fun. Life’s a gas, life is short so why take things so damn serious? Put yer kicks on, baby, we’re going to the bar and hear this raucous, raw band bring the house down and the roof will fall on a laughing bunch of folks. Keep it up! We need more like you! And, thanks, Saustex – you are to be commended for finding these bands and getting them the exposure they deserve!! -KM